Police Numbers Fall as Drug Crime Rises

A quick glance through the pages of Greenwich Time would give you the impression that our borough is becoming an increasingly safe place to live.  But the reality is that Violence against the person, Robbery, Burglary, and Gun Crime all rose from 2004 to 2005, and Drug Crime was up by a third across the borough. The overall fall can only be claimed as there was a substantial drop in Motor Vehicle crime. In certain areas, there have been shocking rises in crime over the course of a year – drug crime up 136% in Eltham North, and burglary up 65% in Thamesmead. 

 

Conservatives take action

Greenwich Conservatives have conducted surveys across the borough, and from Plum stead to Blackheath over 80% of residents told us they had either never seen a police officer walking down their street or could not remember the last time it happened. 

 

Spokeswoman for Shooters Hill Linda Cunningham says “In our opinion, there have got to be more police on the beat. We believe that Greenwich Time should be abolished and the money spent on increasing the number of police officers. The Labour Party clearly believes spin is more important than stopping crime. 

 

Police Numbers down

 

In December 1997, the number of police officers in the borough was 612. In April 2002 the number budgeted for, fell to 576. This is a 5.9% fall since Labour came to power nationally. 

 

This is not an accident, but part of Labour’s “Force Modernisation” programme which aims to increase the use of Community Support Officers (CSOs) in place of warranted police officers (with the power of arrest). In Bexley, which piloted the scheme, 23 warranted police officers are now being cut. 

 

Phil Hendren, of Plumstead Conservatives says “Police cuts by the back door are unacceptable. The introduction of CSOs and Safer Neighbourhood Teams is welcome and people choosing to serve their communities as CSOs are commendable, but they should be as an addition to Police Officers, not as a replacement for them.”

 

What would a Conservative Council do?

 

We believe there should be more visible police in Greenwich, specifically beat officers on foot, to deter crime and reduce people’s fear of it. 

 

Kidbrooke with Hornfair Spokesman Graeme Coombes said: “In our manifesto we pledge to lobby for all police stations to be open 24 hours a day and to fight any plans to sell off stations for flats (as has happened in Shooters Hill).  We would deal more firmly with minor crimes – issuing more Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs). We would ensure motorbikes used illegally are crushed quickly. Finally a Conservative Council would take a much stronger line with licensees who sell alcohol to under 18s. Conservatives want Greenwich to be a safe and pleasant place to live.